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Mark Meechan's clip was viewed more than three million times on YouTube

Mark Meechan’s clip was viewed more than three million times on YouTube


A man who was fined for posting an online video of a dog carrying out Nazi salutes has failed in a bid to challenge his conviction.

Mark Meechan recorded his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as “Sieg Heil” by raising its paw.

He was fined £800 at Airdrie Sheriff Court and had hoped to challenge the case at the highest court in the land.

But this has now been blocked by Scotland’s most senior judges.

Meechan, from Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, has raised more than £75,000 through an online appeal to help pay for the challenge.

The 31-year-old denied committing an offence under the Communications Act during a trial at Airdrie Sheriff Court last year but was found guilty of breaching it by posting the grossly offensive film.

He claimed that the video was only intended as a joke to upset his girlfriend.

Sheriff Derek O’Carroll fined him £800 and a subsequent attempt by Meechan to challenge his conviction at the Sheriff Appeal Court, where the judges are senior sheriffs, failed after it was rejected in the initial sifting process.

Meechan’s lawyers then raised a petition seeking to have the High Court use its powers to allow an appeal to be taken to the UK Supreme Court in London.

But Scotland’s senior judge, the Lord Justice General, Lord Carloway, sitting with the Lord Justice Clerk, Lady Dorrian, and Lord Menzies rejected the move, saying they had no powers to allow any further appeal in the circumstances of the case.

‘Consequences have been immense’

Meechan had sought to pursue a human rights appeal including a claim under article 10 which covers freedom of expression.

His senior counsel, Dorothy Bain QC argued that the petition was competent and necessary to advance the challenge brought by Meechan.

She said: “The consequences of his conviction for this breach of the Communications Act have been immense for him both professionally and personally.”

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC, for the Crown, counter argued that the Sheriff Appeal Court had exercised its powers in accordance with statute and called on the judges to refuse Meechan permission to appeal.

Meechan, who posts videos under the name Count Dankula, has a target of raising £100,000 to cover the cost of his appeal.

BBC News

 Gerard Batten, in the white shirt and blue tie, sitting to the left of Tommy Robinson, with Daniel Thomas to his right, at the Ukip demo planning meeting Credit: Gerard Batten/Twitter

Gerard Batten, in the white shirt and blue tie, sitting to the left of Tommy Robinson, with Daniel Thomas to his right, at the Ukip demo planning meeting Credit: Gerard Batten/Twitter


A far right activist who claims to be one of the organisers of a Ukip rally and who attended a top level meeting with the party’s leader Gerard Batten has a conviction for attempted kidnap, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

Daniel Thomas, 29, has been instrumental in promoting “The Brexit Betrayal” march, a London demonstration in which the newly appointed Ukip advisor ‘Tommy Robinson’ is expected to speak on December 9.

In a picture tweeted by Gerard Batten on Friday, Thomas is photographed sat next to Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League, alongside the party leader.

Mr Batten tweeted: “Spent the afternoon planning Brexit Betrayal – Brexit Must Mean Exit March & Rally,” adding that the event was a “leaver family day out”.

It can be revealed Thomas, a father of four, was jailed two years ago for the attempted armed kidnapping of a man in Hampshire.

Daniel Thomas, also known as Danny Tommo, with Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, at a demonstration Credit: Daniel Thomas/Facebook

Daniel Thomas, also known as Danny Tommo, with Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, at a demonstration Credit: Daniel Thomas/Facebook

Last night, Ukip insisted Thomas was there purely as a Robinson’s bodyguard, despite the photograph showing him sat at the conference table with note paper and having a proven record in organising political rallies.

The revelations could prove to be politically damaging because Ukip’s National Executive Committee is under pressure from former leader Nigel Farage to hold a vote of no confidence in Mr Batten’s leadership when it meets in London.

Last week, Mr Farage wrote a letter to the 15-strong NEC urging it to pass a vote of no confidence in Mr Batten’s leadership over the way he had courted Robinson and pursued an anti-Muslim agenda.

Mr Farage told the Sunday Telegraph: “I am absolutely disgusted with the whole thing. I have been warning repeatedly for the past few months that this was a disastrous course of action. And we are now pretty much at the end game.”

Mr Batten insisted he “was not aware” of Thomas’s conviction and asked to be sent details.

A police mugshot of Daniel Thomas after his arrest for attempted kidnapping

A police mugshot of Daniel Thomas after his arrest for attempted kidnapping

In July 2016, a judge condemned Thomas and two other men for an “extraordinarily frightening incident” matched only by its “stupidity” in which they armed themselves with knives and targeted Graham Page at his home on Hayling Island.

Mr Page told Portsmouth Crown Court that Thomas, along with Darren Anscombe, 38, and Leo Smith, 34, burst into the house shouting “you’re coming with us”.

He claimed they wrongly accused him of stealing £10,000 of drugs from them and tried to drag him away.

Mr Page resisted and the men fled, shouting “we’ll be back”. Upon arrest Thomas, from Hampshire, admitted the offence. He was jailed for two years. The two others received 30 month sentences.

Danny Tommo takes a selfie at one of the far right demonstrations he organised

Danny Tommo takes a selfie at one of the far right demonstrations he organised

After his release from prison last year, Thomas adopted the pseudonym Danny Tommo and organised marches throughout the country calling for Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, to be freed from a sentence for contempt of court.

Thomas became an expert at dealing with local authorities and police to set up protests, where he also gave speeches. He is now among the inner circle of Robinson’s associates and this year organised two rallies outside the Old Bailey when Robinson was appearing there.

Last week, he posted a video to his thousands of followers on Facebook promoting the Ukip march as “the beginning of the political revolution”, adding “we are going to be working together”.

He regularly visits London’s Speakers’ Corner where he films himself arguing with Muslims, and was once handcuffed and detained by police before being released.

Daniel Thomas is led away by police from Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, London

Daniel Thomas is led away by police from Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park, London

On Saturday night, Thomas said the attempted kidnapping was committed because he “got involved with some stupid people” after experiencing financial difficulty.

“Everyone deserves a second chance,” he said. “I came out of prison and I have turned my life around.

“I now go to church every Sunday and pray for forgiveness. Hopefully I will better myself over the years and this incident will be forgotten.”

He was privately educated and has worked as a bricklayer, sales and marketing manager and run a web design company. However, he has now stopped working to “dedicate everything to the cause.”

 Daniel Thomas speaks at the demonstration he organised outside the Old Bailey while Tommy Robinson appears at a hearing Credit: Rmv/Zuma Press / eyevine

Daniel Thomas speaks at the demonstration he organised outside the Old Bailey while Tommy Robinson appears at a hearing Credit: Rmv/Zuma Press / eyevine

Thomas, a former tank driver with the King’s Royal Hussars, from which he was medically discharged before seeing active service, added: “What we are trying to do with Ukip is the future.”

A Ukip spokesman said Thomas was at Friday’s meeting “in the capacity of Mr Robinson’s personal security”.

He added: “Mr Thomas is not part of Ukip’s planning team. He has served his sentence and has returned to the world of work just as Lords Archer and Ahmed have returned to the House of Lords after serving serious criminal convictions.”

Daily Telegraph

A man has admitted sending hundreds of racist letters nationwide including calls for a “Punish a Muslim Day”.

David Parnham, 35, sent the letters to mosques, Muslim parliamentarians including Lord Ahmed of Wimbledon, the Queen, David Cameron and Theresa May.

He pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to 15 offences, including soliciting to murder and staging a bomb hoax.

Parnham, of St Andrews Close, Lincoln, was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at a later date.

During his two-year campaign, Parnham sent wave after wave of letters across the country that included white supremacist imagery and threats to minorities, mostly Muslims.

His first letters sent in June 2016 contained a white powder as a hoax poison.

In one letter sent to David Cameron, Parnham wrote “Allah is Great” and in others sent to mosques he wrote “Paki filth”.

Three months later Parnham sent another wave of white powder letters, including those addressed to the Queen and Theresa May respectively.

One of his poison hoaxes was so sophisticated that it triggered a chemical attack alert at a Royal Mail sorting office in Sheffield.

The following February, he targeted mosques around the UK. One letter to worshippers in Hull included a warning that they were going to be “slaughtered very soon”.

‘Awards’ for attacks

In March 2017 he escalated his campaign, encouraging recipients of his post at the University of Sheffield to attack ethnic minorities, proposing that he would donate £100 to charity for each killing.

The court heard these letters amounted to soliciting to murder and Parnham’s guilty plea to this charge means he could now receive a life sentence.

A year later, Parnham sent out letters headlined “Punish a Muslim Day”, offering “awards” for attacks on people, mosques and Mecca.

He was eventually caught after his DNA and fingerprints were recovered from some of the letters, including one that he sent to Dylann Roof, a US white supremacist who is on death row for a mass murder of black churchgoers three years ago.

BBC News

A white supremacist behind the Punish a Muslim Day letters who encouraged murder and sent hoax letters to The Queen, Theresa May, and David Cameron is facing years behind bars today.

David Parnham, 35, targeted Asian MP, high profile political figures, Royalty, and Muslim centres including Finsbury Park Mosque with hundreds of poison pen letters threatening violence which stretch over two years.

Also among the victims was Tory peer and former security minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon.

Parnham sent dozens of envelopes of white powder to his intended targets from his home in Lincoln.

He sparked full scale alerts over fears that it was anthrax or other poisons. However, the substances eventually turned out to be harmless.

He signed off letters to Asian MPs and Mosques as “Muslim Slayer” and included the phrase “P*ki filth”, according to prosecutors.

In a message to then-Prime Minister Mr Cameron, Parnham wrote the phrase “Allah is great”.

Mrs May, then Home Secretary, and The Queen were among the targets of a series of letters containing white powder which included the sinister phrase: “The clowns R coming 4 you”.

At the Old Bailey today, Parnham pleaded guilty to a series of charges including soliciting murder, making hoaxes, and sending letters with intent to cause distress.

He admitted being the source of the Punish a Muslim Day series of letters, which caused widespread alarm and panic when they spread on social media in March and May this year.

He had also sent out hate letters under different titles, including “The Great Cleanse” which was aimed at Mosques around London in August last year. In those notes, he suggested that Muslims should be “exterminated”.

In Parnham’s so called “Jigsaw” letters from February 2017, he included a picture of a person being decapitated with a sword with a Swastika insignia, including the phrase “blood will be spilled”.

In March last year, Parnham sent letters to homes around the University of Sheffield campus, urging people to “commit exterminations of minority racial and religious groups” and offering £100 for each murder.

A letter to a mosque in Sheffield in August last year read: “To filthy sub-human c********ers I have left a little present for you.it will go off in a short period of time.

“The results will be explosive! Muslim blood will make the floors sticky. Your brains will be splattered all over the walls. A good Muslim is a dead Muslim. Killin Muslims is awesome”.

Parnham’s letter writing campaign was eventually linked to the Punish a Muslim Day threats, which were circulated on social media and urged people to attack Muslims on April 3 this year

Police later discovered that Parnham was an avowed fan of white supremacist Dylann Roof, who shot dead nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Punish a Muslim Day initiative was timed to happened on Roof’s birthday.

Parnham even wrote a fan letter to the convicted mass murderer in an American prison in December 2016, saying: “I just wanted to thank you for opening my eyes. Ever since you carried out what I’d call the ‘cleansing’ I’ve felt differently about what you’d call ‘racial awareness’.”

He added: “ My main reason for disgust is Muslims. I hate these animals with a passion. I sent letters with white powder to some mosques in London they had to close down parliament because of it.”

In one of his last series of letters, under the menacing title “Bang! You’re dead”, Parnham targeted mosques and Asian families living nearby and included a picture of a man holding a gun.

He used the words: “I have acquired a weapon and I am more than prepared to use it on you and members of your Masjid”.

Parnham, from Lincoln, today pleaded guilty to soliciting to murder, five charges of hoaxes involving sending noxious substances, seven charges of sending letters with intent to cause distress or anxiety, one count of making a bomb hoax, and one count of encouraging offences believing one of more would be committed.

He was remanded in custody until a hearing on November 23 to decide when he will be sentenced.

Evening Standard

Richard Broughan apologised over arguments in pubs

Richard Broughan apologised over arguments in pubs

A councillor has apologised after arguing with residents.

Stoke-on-Trent City Councillor Richard Broughan was found by the authority’s Standards Committee to have got into a drunken argument over payment at a pub.

He had failed twice to write an apology letter and attend extra training, after being asked to do so by the council.

Mr Broughan has now apologised and confirmed he went to training for alcohol issues and will attend code of conduct sessions.

The Standards Committee upheld a complaint from an unnamed Stoke-on-Trent pub, during which the councillor, who represents the For Britain party on the Abbey and Hulton ward, was said to be “intoxicated and swearing” whilst arguing with a man at the bar, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

In a second complaint about a different incident – which was partially upheld – it was claimed Mr Broughan threatened to have the Travellers Rest pub in Milton shut down.

In a related incident, the councillor accepted a police caution for assault at a Milton fish and chip shop, but this complaint was not upheld by the committee as he was not on council business at the time.

Mr Broughan was previously ruled to bring the authority into disrepute over claims he made sexual remarks about a woman dressed as an elf.

BBC News

Arthur 'Misty' Thackeray got numbers from slimming world posters and an advert in a shop window

Arthur ‘Misty’ Thackeray got numbers from slimming world posters and an advert in a shop window

The former chairman of UKIP in Scotland has been given a final opportunity to comply with a court order or face jail.

Arthur “Misty” Thackeray, 57, admitted making a string of vulgar phone calls between October 2007 and December 2015 involving 10 different women.

He took the numbers from slimming world posters and an advert in a shop window.

But after being sentenced to a community payback order with various conditions he was back in the dock for a review of his court order.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard he had not been fully compliant with the order.

And it emerged he told his supervising officer that the phone calls were “consensual”.

The court heard that as a result of his attitude, he is unsuitable for a sex offenders’ programme.

‘One final opportunity’

Sheriff Martin Jones QC asked defence lawyer Craig Broadley: “Is he willing to accept that this is why he’s here?

“All these women, obviously having made complaints to the police?

“Is he deluding himself about whether or not these were consensual in nature?”

The sheriff added that the order was a “direct alternative to prison”.

He added: “I can easily revoke the order if he’s not complying and impose a custodial sentence.”

Mr Broadley confirmed Thackeray was aware he must engage fully.

He also told the court his his client would make a proper effort to comply.

The sheriff added: “I’m giving him one final opportunity, I expect to see an acceptance on his part, working with his supervising officer and changing his attitude.”

Thackeray will return to the court next month.

‘Violated and alarmed’

The calls were made from his home in Glasgow’s east end, at 1 Colme Street, Edinburgh and “elsewhere”.

UKIP Scotland leader and MEP David Coburn’s office is at the same address in the capital.

Thackeray pled guilty to nine charges of intentionally sending, or directing “sexual verbal communication” between 1 December 2010 and 19 December, 2015.

The women’s ages ranged from 25-year-old to 66 at the time of the offences.

He was handed a community payback order with the conditions he will be supervised for three years, will carry out 270 hours of unpaid work within nine months and will be on the sex offenders’ register for three years.

BBC News

Stephanie Todd has been jailed for theft

Stephanie Todd has been jailed for theft

A FORMER Ukip councillor has been jailed for stealing £46,000 from a vulnerable widower in his 90s after she befriended him in the street.

Ex-florist Stephanie Todd, 57, caused suspicion by trying to change Philip Wall’s will to become the main beneficiary when he intended to leave his money to the Cats Protection charity.

The solicitors’ firm that held power of attorney over Todd’s profoundly deaf and occasionally confused victim became suspicious when she tried to switch legal firms, and they called in police.

By that stage she had regularly siphoned off up to £300 a time from cashpoints, carefully staying below the £1,300 a month the former GPO engineer received in his pension.

Judge Stephen Ashurst jailed her for two and a half years and said she was in disgrace.

Mr Wall, from Richmond, North Yorkshire, was a modest, frugal, independent man whose late wife loved cats and made him promise to leave his money to a charity that helped them, the judge said.

The childless victim thought Todd was charitably disposed towards him, and Todd cynically portrayed herself as a “saint” by helping him, the judge said.

Judge Ashurst told her: “You were a forceful woman in your 50s, who exploited that position to exert influence on a very old man.

“He was 98 when he died, knowing that someone who he had trusted had stolen from him.”

Todd and Mr Wall had a chance meeting in August 2013 and she befriended him, swiftly taking over the role of cleaner and helping to look after him.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said: “Essentially she tried to help him following that accidental meeting.

“What becomes clear, in a very short space of time, is that this defendant made every effort to rearrange Mr Wall’s financial affairs.”

She used his bank card to withdraw more than £46,000 from his bank account over three years.

Todd sometimes used the card at night in Darlington and in Oxfordshire – clearly not the actions of an elderly and frail man, the court heard.

He died in February, having seen Todd convicted of theft in December.

Her sentencing was delayed after she had a stroke shortly before the jury came back with a verdict and she now uses a walking frame.

A month before his death, Mr Wall made a victim statement to police, saying: “I trusted Stephanie Todd and I fear she has betrayed that trust by stealing money from me when I was in a vulnerable position.

“Since being told of Stephanie Todd’s actions I have been constantly anxious and I have worried over this daily and I found it difficult to trust people.

“I am 98 and the fact someone has stolen from me has marred the final years of my life.”

Todd, from Shute Road, Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, stood as a Ukip candidate in the 2015 General Election, having defected from the Tories in 2013, and was a councillor on Richmondshire District Council.

Simon Perkins, defending, said: “Miss Todd is remorseful for her conduct. She accepts she has thrown away 57 years of good character.”

Northern Echo